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|3 Included Excursions|
Day One - UK to Liege
We begin our river cruise by travelling from the UK, via Calais, to Liege, where we enjoy stay at an overnight hotel.
Day Two - Liege to Regensburg Area
Following breakfast, we continue to the Regensburg area, arriving at our comfortable hotel in time for an evening meal. (B,D)
Day Three - Regensburg Area to Budapest
From the Regensburg area, we travel to Budapest, where we embark the MS Serenade 2. We can spend time settling in to the ship, getting to know our fellow passengers and enjoying our first night on-board. (B)
Day Four - Budapest to Esztergom
In the morning, join our optional Budapest city tour to discover this splendid city. We make our way around the city to admire the fantastic architecture Budapest is famous for, including the Hungarian Parliament on the banks of the Danube, as well as St Stephen’s Basilica, Vajdahunyad Castle and Heroes’ Square. This evening enjoy live classical music on board before we continue our cruise with an overnight sailing to Esztergom. (B,L,D)
Day Five - Esztergom to Bratislava
We have the morning to discover the city of Esztergom, once the capital of Hungary. With its former status, Esztergom is understandably filled with amazing cultural sights, which we can discover with our optional excursion. Admire Castle Hill, with the amazing St Adalbert's Basilica perched atop it, as well as St Anne Church and the Vizivaros (Watertown) neighbourhood, which is filled with historical sights. This afternoon, we depart Esztergom for our overnight cruise to Bratislava. (B,L,D)
Day Six - Bratislava to Vienna
Awake in the Slovakian capital, with free time to explore Bratislava - or why not join our optional tour? This city is home to a number of famous museums, art galleries, and other fascinating cultural attractions, such as St Martin's Cathedral, Bratislava Castle and the Rusovce Mansion. By mid-afternoon, it will be time to return to the MS Serenade 2, as we begin our cruise to Vienna. (B,L,D)
Day Seven - Vienna
Splendid Vienna, known for its musical legacy and amazing architecture, will be our port of call today. With the entire day to explore, there will be plenty to see and do! We include an excursion to visit Schonbrunn Palace, a former 18th century imperial summer residence of the imperial family which was built to rival Versailles. Stroll around the historic state-rooms and admire the impressive palace gardens. Why not join our optional excursion to discover Vienna’s amazing sights such as the City Hall, St Stephen’s Cathedral, the Vienna State Opera, Hofburg Palace and much more. This evening, we will have two excellent optional excursions to choose from - a horse-drawn fiaker ride or a Mozart and Strauss concert. (B,L,D)
Day Eight - Vienna to Durnstein
This morning, wake to the changing scenery of the Danube as we journey onwards from Vienna to Durnstein. This beautiful town is found in the Wachau Valley, which you can explore with our excellent optional excursion. We will take a scenic drive to admire the valley’s amazing landscape, as well as visiting Durnstein, Krems and Spitz. We moor in Durnstein overnight. (B,L,D)
Day Nine - Durnstein - Melk - Linz
Continuing our river cruise, we depart Durnstein while enjoying breakfast this morning and arrive in Melk before midday. Melk is famous for the astounding Melk Abbey, which overlooks the town, and we will have an optional excursion to explore Melk Valley this afternoon. By evening, it will be time to say goodbye to Melk as we make our way to Linz, cruising overnight. (B,L,D)
Day Ten - Linz to Passau
Austria’s third-largest city, Linz is a delightful place to visit, with beautiful architecture. This includes the Hauptplatz (Main Square), the New Cathedral, and the city’s medieval buildings. Enjoy an included excursion to to Salzburg. Famous for being Mozart’s birthplace, and for being the setting for The Sound of Music, Salzburg is filled with wonderful sights. This evening, we cruise onwards to Passau over dinner. (B,L,D)
Day Eleven - Passau to Liege
We disembark the MS Serenade 2 this morning after breakfast, travelling to our overnight hotel in Liege for an evening meal. (B,D)
MS Serenade 2
The stunning MS Serenade 2 offers a truly unique cruising experience. This beautiful and sleek ship has been designed to create a luxurious, modern and spacious atmosphere on board. A real highlight of the Serenade 2 is the superbly designed Forward Observation Lounge where you can sit back and relax enjoying stunning views along the river. We’re sure that once you have experienced the magic of the Serenade 2 you will be back next year!
Allow us to welcome you on board our newest addition to the Shearings river cruise family, the MS Serenade 2. Inaugurated in 2007, this beautiful ship really is at the cutting edge of design, guaranteeing the most comfortable possible surroundings for her passengers. The cabins on board the Serenade 2 are amongst the very best and the largest of any river cruise vessel. They feature hotel style beds (not berths or bunks) and a well-appointed bathroom, with WC, bath and separate shower. All cabins feature a flat screen TV, phone, mini-fridge, tea/coffee making facilities, safe and hairdryer, plus floor-to-ceiling sliding French windows on the upper two decks.
Relax on-board, where our highly professional crew and cruise manager, will be happy to help. Why not enjoy the spacious Sun Deck which incorporates covered shaded areas, and space to relax in one of the plentiful deck chairs or sun loungers. Perhaps partake in a game of giant chess or visit the on-board fitness suite which incorporates a small gym and sauna.
Enjoy contemporary cuisine in the chic Mendelssohn Restaurant on-board located on the Mozart Deck, where each day begins with a sumptuous breakfast buffet, with English and Continental delicacies available.
At lunchtime, sit down to a mouth watering buffet, helping yourself to a fantastic selection of foods, from cold meats and cheeses to a choice of hot dishes.
Come dinnertime, there will be a four-course evening meal to enjoy with your fellow cruise passengers, sampling gourmet dishes from our superb on-board chefs. Not only this, you will also be treated to an impressive Captain’s gala dinner during your cruise, which is sure to be a wonderfully memorable experience.
And what better way to the end of the day, than a visit to the superb Captain’s Club for a post dinner drink.
Join us on our excursion to explore the elegant city of music and the birthplace of Mozart. On our guided walking tour we see the Cathedral, St Peter’s Abbey, Mozart Square, the glorious Mirabell Gardens and the imposing Hohensalzburg Fortress.
Admire Nonnberg Convent and the famous Getreidegasse - a busy shopping street in the Old Town section of Salzburg. The house at no. 9 Getreidegasse is the place where Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born and where he lived until the age of 17.
Join us for an amazing tour of Vienna, allowing us to discover this splendid city for ourselves. Our coach tour will begin as we travel past Vienna’s large park, the Prater, admiring views of the famous Ferris wheel and then on to the State Opera House, also seeing the Fine Arts and History Museum.
We will also see the stunning Hofburg Palace during our city tour, along with the Parliament building, the Town Hall and the Burg Theatre. Making our way to St. Stephen's Cathedral in the city centre, we will disembark our coach and enjoy a walking tour of Vienna. We will stroll along the Graben, one of Vienna’s most famous streets.
After our walking tour, we return to our coach and begin our return journey, taking in the famous buildings by painter and architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser, stopping to admire the unique Hundertwasserhaus.
Half Day: Schonbrunn Palace
This will be our first included excursion in Vienna, and will provide us with a fantastic opportunity to explore the superb Schonbrunn Palace. This is one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions, and features fantastic rococo architecture. With over 1,400 rooms and expansive gardens, it’s no wonder it’s such a hit.
During our visit, we’ll get a chance to tour the house and gardens, and will surely be impressed by the grandiosity of the attraction. Everything about Schonbrunn Palace is over the top, but in the best possible way, as it showcases the luxury of Vienna’s old monarchy.
Budapest Guided City Tour
One of the most magnificent cities in the world, Budapest is filled with incredible sights and sounds. Join us as we take a city tour to learn more about this wonderful capital of Hungary, with its stunning architecture, historical attractions and marvellous culture.
Budapest is actually two cities astride the Danube. Our guided tour of Budapest takes us by coach on a visit to both.
On the Pest side we see St Stephen’s Basilica, Vajdahunyad Castle and Heroes’ Square, which is dominated by the impressive Millenary Monument, home to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
We then cross to Buda and the Castle District, where we find the seven-hundred year-old Matthias Church, one of the jewels of Budapest. We also see the famous Fisherman’s Bastion, which offers great views over the city.
The city is home to the largest medicinal bath in Europe (Szechenyi Medicinal Bath) and the third largest Parliament building in the world, once the largest in the world. The city also contains the third largest church in Europe (Esztergom Basilica) and the second largest Baroque castle in the world (Godollo).
Evening Horse-drawn Fiaker Ride
We’ll enjoy an enchanting ride in a traditional Viennese Fiaker. These horse drawn carriages have featured in many artistic pieces related to Vienna such as musical pieces and operas by Richard and Johan Strauss. We'll see the sights of this amazing city in a way you'll remember forever - admire the beautiful architecture, soak up the wonderful atmosphere and make the most of this charming experience.
Explore Esztergom And Wine
Esztergom is one of the oldest cities in Hungary founded around 972 AD and was the capital of Hungary from the 10th till the mid-13th century. The most famous landmark of Esztergom is the Basilica situated on Castle Hill overlooking the city.
Join us as we take the electric train 50 metres up to the impressive Basilica with its 72m-high central dome which can be seen for many miles around.
Inside the grandiose 19th century church we see where Franz Liszt used to play the organ and admire the renaissance chapel from the 15th century. We enjoy a glass of wine in the cellars of Basilica.
The city has a wonderful historical and architectural heritage that includes many Baroque buildings, the Primate's Palace, the Franciscan monastery and several chapels and churches. One the newest additions to Esztergom is the Mária Valéria Bridge, which connects the city with Slovakia. Esztergom is truly a beautiful city hence it is often referred to as the 'Hungarian Rome'.
Join us as we discover one of the smallest and most picturesque capitals of Central Europe. Our tour commences by local tourist train, we pass the Slovak Philharmonic Hall, the Slovak National Theatre around the Old Historical Town to the Archbishops Summer Residence. We also see Blumental Church, the bustling commercial street of Obchodna with its many shops, the buildings of the Technical University, Slovak Radio, and the Slovak National Bank.
We then head to Bratislava’s imposing Castle and through the garden suburb and onto Vienna Gate and Castle Hill, where we enjoy majestic views of the city before heading to the Old Town. Our tour continues on foot where we see Archbishop Place, St. Martin Cathedral – the previous Coronation Church of the Hungarian Kings – Academia Istropolitana – the oldest University dated from the 15th century, Main Square with its Old Town Hall and the Opera House and the famous manhole - Ganymedes.
Majestic Melk Abbey
Stift Melk (Melk Abbey) is a Baroque-era masterpiece, located above the town of Melk on a rocky outcrop overlooking the river Danube. Part palace, part monastery and part opera set, Melk is a magnificent vision thanks greatly to its upward-reaching twin towers. Capped with baroque helmets and cradling a 208-foot-high dome, this abbey is a true Baroque masterpiece.
Our tour of the abbey includes the Imperial rooms, Marble Hall, and the balcony, which offers fine views of the river. It’s likely that Napoleon probably used this room as a lookout when his headquarters were based in Melk for his campaign against Austria.
We also see the magnificent library, with more than 100,000 books, nearly 2,000 manuscripts, and a superb ceiling fresco by the master Paul Troger; the Marmorsaal, whose windows on both sides enhance the ceiling frescoes; and the glorious Stiftskirche (abbey church) of Saints Peter and Paul, an exquisite example of the Baroque style.
Following the tour you can enjoy some free time to wander around the abbey’s park with its impressive Baroque garden, the recently restored northern bastion. Or you may just wish to sit and relax in the abbey’s restaurant with a coffee and admire the beautiful views.
Mozart and Strauss Concert
Vienna is undoubtedly Europe’s musical capital, and this excursion will give us the opportunity to enjoy the music of two of Austria’s favourite sons. Sit back and relax as we listen to the music of Johann Strauss, the Waltz King, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the infant prodigy.
We make the short journey by coach to the concert hall for an evening full of Viennese charm, with the lilting sound of waltzes, polkas, arias and duets, as well as operetta and piano concerto melodies. Accompanied by excellent opera vocalists and our enchanting ballet soloists, Vienna's classical music reveals itself as a living firework display for all the senses taking us back to the days of old Vienna for a truly unforgettable evening.
Wonderful Wachau Valley
Join us as we explore the spectacular Wachau Valley, located midway between the towns of Melk and Krems. The Valley was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 2000, as recognition of its architectural and agricultural history.
During our tour we visit the historical centre of Krems, one of the most beautiful in Europe, and famous for its ancient squares, old monasteries, churches and impressive town houses.
We also visit the charming town of Durnstein, situated in the heart of the valley; here we enjoy breath-taking scenery, traditional architecture, and places of historical interest, including Kuenringer Castle. It was here that English King Richard the Lionheart was once held prisoner.
We then head to the picturesque town of Spitz, with its cobbled streets amidst vineyards, offering spectacular views, before calling at the wine-producing village of Weissenkirchen.